Books and paper may have a musty smell. Certain paperbacks turn yellow and deteriorate and I had to throw them out when I volunteered in a library or these books would risk contaminating others. Toss out all old newspapers, magazines and unneeded paper as paper holds other smells. For remaining must-keeps, invest in a proper airtight box, and throw in a sachet of lavender-oil scented handkerchief, rag, etc. Seal it tightly and label the outside with masking tape so you can write on it and change as often as needed. Good bye musty papers and clutter, hello fresh healthy smells.
There could be many reasons the home smells off. I would check under the kitchen sink for any black mold from water damage. Check your flooring up close, get on all fours and really test it especially around any possible contact with water leaks or high traffic areas, especially in the bathroom and near doors.
I entered an optician’s store with wall to wall carpeting and instantly I could smell the carpet had not been shampooed in decades. Uggh. Wash your carpets, it is worth the cost and ought to be repeated at least twice a year. Consider buying a decent carpet cleaner, especially if you have pets. Learn to use it correctly. If you have a male cat, even after being spayed there could be low-lying levels of testosterone. Take kitty in for a bloodtest. Make 100% sure Mr. Kitty is not spraying whatsoever at all. Be careful of old rugs from friends/thrift shops. Inspect them carefully with a blacklight for old urine, etc. Kitty, though neutered, could be feeling territorial and want to urinate over that spot, and even if kitty is neutered, and the urine is much milder, hey, urine is urine. You feel me.
Give all throws and blankets a good shake and run them through the wash or drycleaners along with all cushions. Avoid Febreze as you will keep on needing it again and again without solving the underlying problem. And expose your liver, kidney and lungs to toxic chemicals.
Try airing out your place every day, early in the morning or late at night, depending on your preferences for quiet, temperature. The main thing to do is air frequently. Air out after cooking. Air out after any type of candle or incense as they have a soot build up. Air out every time before, during and right after cooking. Consider changing what you cook. For example, I don’t fry bacon, beef, fish or liver at home. I eat these meals at a restaurant once in a blue moon.
Consider what smells bother you the most. I love onions and garlic but I can’t stand if the cat litterbox is not changed daily. Every time I go to the washroom I pass by the catbox and I can tell right away by the tracks in the corn mulch if there is a recent deposit. (I swear by corn litter. Avoid Arm n Hammer overperfumed corn litter though as it stinks like a cheap gas station air freshener. The corn really works wonders all by itself, but buy a small bag from a reputable store, make sure it is not old, damp or mouldy. Good luck) I clear it right away, and I put both 1 & 2 in a sealed Ziploc bag, 30 by 30 cm and seal it (no smells, no daily trips to the garbage chute!) then wash my hands thoroughly. I keep a pair of specially coloured gloves near the cat litter box in case my hands are dry. I wash the gloves right away as thoroughly as if they were my hands.
Do you have hobbies like knitting? Maybe large bags of old wool are capturing stale smells. Try airing them out, even gently washing them or drycleaning. Try to buy only what you need and not overstock on anything. Same goes for baseball gloves, hockey equipment. I used to play hockey and gear gets very smelly, very fast.
Some people don’t keep on top of their laundry. I do not want to generalize, but I have often noticed that some people overload the washer, not allowing sufficient water to come between and properly wash and rinse. Some people’s clothes smells perpetually sweaty and funky. Toss these clothes, do not donate them and start fresh, vowing to buy easy to clean clothes that do not look stained right away (forget white shirts. They flatter very few people) Watch Youtube videos with as much seriousness as learning to do math or build a house. Your clothes will last longer, smell fresher and you will attract new friends, love and influence people. Forget fashion. Just be clean. Forget fabric softener, laundry perfumed products and soaps, dryer sheets, etc. Just a waste of money. Baking soda, Borax and vinegar are the only natural laundry boosters I use. Try to buy clothes that doesn’t need ironing. You don’t have time for that and the heat tends to keep smells locked in clothes.
Wash everything. Even things you think don’t need washing, like pillboxes, telephones, door handles and walls. Walls retain smells, oh yes they do. Wash all the window frames, wash underneath the frames, wash all baseboards, the top edge. Wash on top of doorframes. Wash old pencils, binders, donate them to schools or charities. Consider showcasing collectibles differently after washing them. When in doubt, wash or toss.
A lot of people ask me why do we have to clean? It is to protect our immune system from bacterial overload. I used to work as a janitor in various health clinics. We don’t want our homes looking and smelling like a barn. I love animals dearly, but they have a vastly different tolerance for microorganisms than we.
Buy a new mattress and cover both boxsprings and matress with heavy-duty quality dustproof and bedbug encasement covers. Wash all pillows, get pillow encasement protectors and consider replacing pillows every year or two. Take no risks these days. Consider using a couch cover and that all new furniture must be light, durable and easy to clean.
And for the kitchen and fridge, invest in great shelves for the pantry. Put masking tape on everything once opened to state the date it was opened. Toss anything weird, even if not expired. It may still be safe to eat, but it may be smelling up your home. Close up everything tightly, both for its longer shelflife and your clean-smelling home.
Keep shoes fresh. Air them on the balcony or outdoors in dry weather. I use baking soda. Silver-lined sox and wicking sox cut down on smelly feet.
And to conclude, try drinking at least 2–3L of distilled water with added mineral drops. This may help decrease body odour from diet or health challenges.